Feedback on the new MLC format

Written by Miguel García de León:18133_218114448052_5644645_n

I’d like to share my experience during the MLC exam under the new format.

During the first hour of the examination I would have to say that I felt very good. My first impression of the multiple choice section was that questions were actually more “straight-forward”, as the SOA announced. I was able to answer each problem in no more than 3-4 minutes, however for the second hour of the exam, things changed radically. I realized that questions on #13-20 of the multiple choice section started to look more like the multiple choice questions from the previous format. That’s probably just me but during the second hour of the exam I went from feeling confident to feeling a little bit stressed because of the fact that for the third part of the multiple choice section my average time of answering increased to 7-8 minutes.

By the time I finished the 20 questions of the multiple choice component, 2 hours had already elapsed. I felt worried because I was supposed to spend 1 hour and 40 minutes on it. I tried to calm down, so I started working on the written answer questions.

I should say that in my opinion the SOA exaggerated with the complexity of the information given in the greatest part of the questions. The text of the questions was extremely long and the information given was just “too much”. There were some questions that had almost two pages of content!

Probably when the SOA releases the exam and I re-read the questions, my perception will change, I’m sure it will… however I think that it’s important for us to be prepared for these kind of situations. We need to be able to read and perfectly understand up to 2 pages of content as fast as possible, and we also need to care about the way we write down our procedure with as much detail as possible and also with nice handwriting (or at least legible). This means no weird shortcuts, proper actuarial notation, coherence, etc.

Talking about difficulty, half of the questions in the written answer section were not too bad. In my case the problem again, was time. During the last hour of the exam, I had to skip one of those one-and-a-half-page questions and try to earn as many points as possible in other shorter questions. I panicked, so in general, I wasn’t able to completely answer all the subsections of the questions. To be honest I think it all will depend on how the SOA goes about giving partial credit. Since this is the first MLC exam with a written answer component, it’s hard to predict how severe they will be.

Everyone I have talked to thinks that the written part was excessively charged. So, I think the pass mark probably wouldn’t be as high as it was for previous sittings under the old format. We will probably get back to some point when the pass mark was about 50% (when the SOA realized that the exam was too difficult and decided to reduce the number of questions from 30 to 25). We’ll see what happens! Good luck to you all!